Linda Green-Series 1 (2001)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Sydney Macartney|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes, frequent|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Linda Green is a great new show. I hadn't seen it before viewing this DVD, but I will be keeping an eye out for the next season. I had the good fortune to review the first season of Manchild recently, and this is every bit as enjoyable - and of a similar very high standard. This is modern BBC television at its best. Liza Tarbuck plays the title role, and I had only ever seen her as the host of the reality documentary series Passport to The Sun (shown on Foxtel in Australia). (Her father, Jimmy Tarbuck, would be familiar to anyone who lived in the UK during the last thirty years - he is a near permanent fixture on TV shows and is one of the "old school" British comedians).
Linda is a Rover car saleswoman, living in Manchester (The English city, not the K-Mart bedding department). In her early thirties, she knows that her biological clock is ticking, and the series tends to focus on her relationships with her friends and family - and her ongoing search for Mr Right.
Linda has a core group of friends, whom she has known since her schooldays. We get to meet Michelle (excellently portrayed by Claire Rushbrook, who looks remarkably like Brenda Blethyn) and her randy boyfriend Darren (an amiable Daniel Ryan), who are at it like rabbits whenever the chance allows. The other main friend in Linda's life is Jimmy (a great performance from Sean Gallagher) - a mechanic who works at the same car dealership. As well as being a close friend, ever ready to provide a shoulder to cry on, Jimmy often pops round for a quick "shag", whenever he and Linda are both single. Jimmy is really starting to realise that Linda may be "the one" for him - Linda however doesn't quite realise that.
Her world-weary, union delegate, teacher father Frank (well played by the understated Dave Hill), mother Iris (Rachel Davies) and younger brother Fizz and sister Katy round out the only lasting relationships in her life. Linda also has an active social life - she sings part-time at the local social club. The songs she sings at the start and end of each episode usually have a witty link with the plot-line - a nice touch. It must be said though, that Tarbuck, whilst competent and clearly game, is certainly not a professional singer. Her voice is somewhat on the baritone side, and seems to span about half an octave. Liza Tarbuck does have some very expressive body language however, and is able to communicate a great deal with a simple glance, or a steely stare.
The disc presents us with all ten of the episodes from the first series. Below is a brief synopsis of the action from each one:
The series is genuinely funny, but with an ever-present undertone of sadness. Linda is outwardly self-assured and occasionally overbearing. Inside however, she is getting lonely and is in need of someone to become a serious partner in her life. Some of the episodes are quite touching, and thought-provoking. This programme might not have you laughing out loud every five minutes, but it will always make you smile - sometimes with a hint of shocked embarrassment. The topics covered are often sexual in nature and the discussions can be quite frank sometimes, (although nowhere near as explicit as Sex and the City), so you may want to send the kids or the parents to bed before you watch it. Top notch writing, acting and production values - this is quality television, period.
The overall video transfer of this disc, for a television series, is very good indeed.
The series is presented in its assumed original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it has been 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer, as might be expected for such recent material, is essentially flawless. It has a tiny hint of softness occasionally, but appears as sharp as any (standard definition) digital broadcast on Australian television today.
Shadow detail is good and black levels are excellent with no low-level noise present. Colours are very realistic and well rendered. Skin tones are totally natural throughout.
The transfer is free from MPEG artefacts. Aliasing is virtually absent, with only the merest hint cropping up if you look really, really hard. There was no noticeable edge enhancement. There are absolutely no scratches or flecks evident.
There is an English for the Hard of Hearing subtitle track present, which follows the dialogue reasonably closely, giving appropriate audio cues, but does miss or paraphrase some of the dialogue. You will still get the gist, but these are not the most accurate subtitles I have ever seen.
This series comes on two RSDL discs, with five episodes per disc. I was unable to locate the layer change on either disc, so I assume that they are sensibly placed between episodes.
The overall audio quality of this disc is very good, if a little unremarkable. I could spot no significant defects at all, bar an almost imperceptible hiccup in the music track at 13:26 and 13:29 during Episode 8.
The audio track is in English Dolby Digital 2.0 encoded at a slight 192 kbps.
Dialogue was always crystal clear and audio synch was fine.
The music is provided courtesy of a great range of pop-songs, quite well rendered by Liza Tarbuck although, as mentioned earlier, she is by not up to professional singing standard. All of the songs are toe-tappers, and I must admit that for me, despite Linda's vocal limitations, the songs are a highlight of each episode.
The soundstage is quite satisfactory, particularly with Pro Logic enabled. The surrounds see limited use, as the series is largely dialogue driven, with the exception of Linda's stage performances when the surrounds support the music track (with a slight delay introduced - presumably deliberately to mimic the sound quality found in a social club). Occasional ambient effects can be heard from the surrounds too, although nothing particularly noteworthy.
The subwoofer was used to carry some bass, but obviously LFE effects are absent.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are almost no extras on the disc.
The menu is a static photograph of Linda Green. It allows the selection of individual episodes (each with four chapter stops), the option to play all episodes in sequence or the following extra.
Presented as a series of selectable text pages, we are allowed to read brief character studies of Linda, her friends and family. Very slight value here.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD does not appear to be available in Region 1. The Region 2 disc appears to be identical to the Region 4 release (indeed the Region 4 is coded for both Regions).
Linda Green is a treat. The humour is sometimes understated but omnipresent. There is often a tinge of sadness present too, and it is easy to empathise with Linda's struggle to find love. The acting is top-notch, the cast excellent and the plotlines always fun. With a warm, funny and sometimes poignant performance from Liza Tarbuck, this is a series I am sure many people will be collecting - perhaps appealing more to a female audience? Oh well, I'll collect Manchild and my wife can have Linda Green (and then we can swap!).
The video quality is very good for a television series.
The audio quality is very good for a television series.
The extras are insignificant.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|